Tuesday, October 28, 2008

$26M bus depot in Regina

A new bus depot has just been built in downtown Regina, costing taxpayers $26.2 million. Over budget and late, it finally opens on November 4. Yet, for all this, Saskatchewan Transportation Corporation, a heavily-subsidized crown expects few new riders.

What the public will see next Tuesday is a modern, airy, state-of-the-art facility, in which the passenger waiting area replicates a streetscape with streetlights and skylights....[picture tour here]

[Minister Ken] Cheveldayoff, who was a harsh critic of STC while in opposition, admitted that a $26-million terminal and head office building might not have been undertaken by the Saskatchewan Party government.

"We are always very concerned when we use taxpayers' money to subsidize the operation of anything in government. It's no secret STC takes a substantial amount of subsidy.''

This year, STC will receive an $8-million subsidy to cover operating losses.

...[Saskatchewan Transportation Corporation CEO Ray] Clayton said STC is still hopeful that the number of passengers will increase by two or three per cent in 2008. "We plan to do a number of things to make the bus itself more attractive,'' he added. For example, STC plans to roll out full-sized coaches, with fewer seats and more leg room, with alternating current (AC) power sources for laptop computers.
The only consolation is that the province is downsizing out-of-province crown investments, noting that on average they're a 15 percent loser.

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